Tuesday, June 13, 2006

B-L-T Salad and Teacher Gifts

Before I tell you about this great tasting salad, my contribution this week for ARF/5-A-Day at Sweetnicks, I'm going to go on a little tangent and talk about teacher gifts. All you parents out there who'd like to score big points with your child's teacher, listen up!

First, let me say that any gift a child brings to a teacher is special. I always make a big production of saying "Can I open it now?" and then opening it in front of the class and making a big fuss over the gift. I get a LOT of gifts from students, and it's very gratifying. However . . .

What is even more gratifying is when the gift turns out to be something you might have bought for yourself. Soap, bubble bath, candles, candy, and lotion are all fine, but when I get things like that I rarely actually use them. Gift certificates are always wonderful, but presents where the parent/student thought about me and what I might like are even better.

This year I got a couple of amazing gifts from students. One student gave me a Zyliss Mandoline, something I had wanted for a long time and which you'll be seeing featured on the food blog soon. Another student gave me frozen wild salmon that his dad had caught on a fishing trip to Alaska. Completely yummy and a great gift. At Christmas several students gave me low-carb chocolates; now how cute is that? But the gift that prompted me to write about student gifts was a great cookbook called The Ultimate Low Carb Cookbook, which a student gave me at the end of school. That's where I found this recipe, and that's why I'll always think of that student whenever I make this salad.

This recipe was from The Ultimate Low Carb Cookbook, by Mary B. Johnson, a graduate of Cordon Bleu. If you're even remotely into lower carb eating I recommend the book. I see at least 20 recipes in there that I'd like to try. The spine of the book says Barnes & Noble Books, or check the online source above.

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Salad
(2 servings, adapted slightly from The Ultimate Low Carb Cookbook)

3-4 handfuls chopped romaine lettuce
3-4 slices bacon, cooked very crisp then crumbled (see below)
1 1/2 T olive oil
4 small tomatoes, diced in 2" pieces
(or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
1/4 tsp. garlic puree or 1 garlic clove diced very small
two grinds fresh ground pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

(Get all your ingredients ready before you start to assemble the salad. I didn't do that and my tomatoes got slightly overcooked. I'll be more careful next time, and there will be a next time.)

Put the lettuce into separate bowls that you will be serving the salad in. Cook bacon in frying pan until it is very crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels, blotting off fat. Remove all but 1 teaspoon bacon fat from frying pan. (I use precooked bacon from Costco which has a lot of the fat already cooked out. If you use regular bacon you'll have a lot more bacon fat to remove.) Crumble bacon over lettuce in salad bowls.

Add olive oil and heat for 30 seconds over medium high heat. Add tomatoes and saute one minute. Add garlic and black pepper, saute 30 seconds. Add vinegar, stir to coat tomatoes, and immediately remove pan from heat. Pour tomato mixture over lettuce and serve immediately. You can season with salt and more pepper if desired, but this was very tasty even without added salt.

South Beach Suggestions:
Bacon is discouraged on the South Beach Diet because of the saturated fat. I eat bacon occasionally, but it's a treat, not something I eat often. I adapted this recipe to use a lot less bacon and also less bacon fat and more olive oil in the dressing. Using the pre-cooked bacon significantly reduces the fat.
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More to Chew On:


  1. This sounds like a wondeful summer lunch! My only problem is that it quite difficult to find bacon here, There is always pancetta but it's not the same...Sometimes I see normal bacon and the next time I do you can be sure of what I'm going to eat!

  2. what great gifts. But you don't let them influence you, do you? What grade does the student who brings you a box of Krispy Kremes get ;)

  3. Ilva, I wish I could fly over to Italy and bring you some bacon in my suitcase. We could make this together and talk for hours!

    Sam, of course the gifts influence me! Ok, just kidding about that! No kids have brought me anything remotely like a box of Krispy Kremes, but I have gotten a lot of candy. The best present I ever got was a father who had a tree trimming business who cut down two trees for me and then refused to let me pay.

  4. what thoughtful gifts! especially since it involves the use of bacon :)

  5. In elementary school, my favorite teacher and I shared the same birthday, so I always gave her a special present and she always gave me one... aw, those were the days.

    I hope you had fun at the Utah bloggers thingy, tonight - I'm looking forward to your update.

  6. A mandoline! Lucky you! I remember all the years I was teaching I didn't get many gifts - and it wasn't that they didn't like me, but that I taught 9th grade. Elementary teachers always get lots of gifts; secondary don't.

  7. Vanessa, bacon is something I could never give up!

    Erin, love that story. I only remember ever having one student whose birthday was on mine. I took him out to lunch and he was scared to talk.

    Cyndi, it's true. Those poor secondary teachers never get anything.

  8. Kalyn, I'm so glad you got a mandoline! I know you wanted one, and on my trip to India I did check in two stores (could not do much shopping...it was a short hectic trip) but did not find one like the one I have :( Oh well now you have a mandoline so YAY :) Love the idea of a cookbook-gift too!

  9. It is hard sometimes to find a good gift to give to your child's teacher. What I do, as a suggestion to others, is I get a fridge frame, have you seen these?, you can get it at www.fridgeframe.com, or on QVC, or my local hallmark stores sells them, and then I put pictures in it that I've taken throughout the school year. I usually volunteer at the school. Then the teacher has a rememberance of the year, and they can change the pictures and use the fridgeframe on their fridge to showcase their favorite memories. Or they can put it on their file cabinents at school. I like to think the personal touch in the gift makes it better.


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